Well, so much for that idea…

As many of you know, I’m an Indie Writer making a living from my fiction. (This year’s going to suck for everyone, but the last several years have been good and I’ll get through all this as well and keep writing.)

Just got the official word from a publisher I have been working with that they have had to pull the plug on the one anthology project that might have been the first ever to pay me pro rates. I’ve done a few others over the years, generally on invitation from a publisher or editor I know to write a specific story for them. All of those were royalty share and unlikely to make me much money.

This one was a project where the editor had closed the submissions window and not been all that pleased with the product she finally ended up with, mostly because a lot of people didn’t read her spec all that closely and gave her what we like to call “low hanging fruit.” After listening to her bitch, I went home and had a moment of inspiration, based on her topic and the kvetching I listened to. It was absolutely hilarious to me, and I think the rest of you will like it.

Ended up sending it to her with the subject line “This is all your fault” and explained that she’d inspired this long piece, that was originally intended as part one of the follow up novel to Fairchild. Figured she’d appreciate knowing that I’d had fun with her topic, even though I hadn’t been part of the group that submitted during the window.

She wrote back that she loved the story and wanted to include it in her anthology project, paying pro rates.

Uhm, huh?

Okay, wow?

That would have been my first ever pro sale. Past tense.

The publishing company took a look around at how far behind they had fallen on so many things, and what was happening in the world right now, and jettisoned an entire line of upcoming anthologies, so instead of it now coming out in Summer of 2021, it was reverting.

Well, shit.

I mean, I’ve been wanting to write more of that story, but I needed her to do her edits so I knew if she had any significant changes to the story or the ending, because as I said, that was Act One of a new novel I was going to write.

On the brighter side of things, what they are doing is sending it to a new publisher, but one that does royalty-share (of which I’m quite familiar, don’t you know) instead of pro rates. I’ve already been contacted by the new publisher to inquire about participating in the whole project, but I won’t know for a month or so if the project will even happen, or if everyone else will back out and submit their stories back to the major periodicals.


So there you have it, no first pro sale for me. Using the old rules, I still haven’t started earning my SFFWA bones, although I could apply for a variation to their rules as an Indie Writer and join. (I’ve suffered too much abuse over the years from the old guard of rude f@#% dinosaurs who called what I do “vanity press” to join until enough of them are dead, which might be never. You should never hit an old woman with a chair at a public reception. Even as much as the bitch deserved it.)

Was joking with the wife earlier today that I might never actually have a pro sale at this rate, and just end up making a living instead.

Tempted to submit something unagented one of these days to one of the big houses, just to see if they’d actually bite. I’m about halfway through my 47th novel this week, so I’d have one hell of a catalog if they wanted to pull in all my fans and expose me to a bunch of new writers. What’s the worst they could do? Offer me a contract to redline? Because I know way too much about contract law, so the one they’d get back would be marked all to hell, and if they signed that, I wouldn’t be nearly as screwed as some of the kids out there continue to be because nobody teaches them any better. (Another one of my beefs with some of the “Pro” organizations, if you catch my drift.)

So any of you who have ever had a professional sale paying good rates, know that you’re ahead of me on that particular track.

Maybe forever.